24.06.2022 Article

Open letter to the President for effective and efficient use of private security organizations as an indispensable vehicle for peace, security and stability and generation of more jobs for sustainable national development- fixing the country part eight

By Major Mohamed Bogobiri (RTD)
Open letter to the President for effective and efficient use of private security organizations as an indispensable vehicle for peace, security and stability and generation of more jobs for sustainable national development- fixing the country part eight
24.06.2022 LISTEN

Dear His Excellency the President of Ghana,

Sir, as you are aware, the United Nations recommended a ratio of one Policeman to 500 citizenry (people) and the ratio was found not good in Ghana in 1970, so in order to deal with the shortage of manpower strength in order to ensure efficient and effective peace and security (in private spaces and some public spaces) which are ingredients for stability for national development, Section 38 of the Police Services Act 1970 (Act 350) was promulgated to permit the Minister of Interior by legislative instrument to make Regulations for (a) the establishment and operations of a private security organization, (b) Requiring the registration of private security organizations, (c) regulating the conditions of employment of persons in a private security organization, (d) regulating the use of uniforms by a private security organization, (e) prescribing fees and forms for any of the above purposes.

Section 38 of the Police Services Act 1970 (Act 350) defined private security organization” as includes an organization which undertakes private investigations as to facts (evidence or the character of a person, or which performs services of watching, guarding, patrolling or carriage for the purpose of providing protection against crime, but does not include the Police Service, Military, Police Service or the Prisons Service.

Section 38 of the Police Services Act 1970 (Act 350) was later on supported by the Police Service Regulation 1992 (LI 1571). Hence, the current legislation governing the establishment and operations of private security organization is the Police Service Regulation 1992 (LI 1571). The oversight responsibility of PSOs is shared by the Minister for Interior through issuance and renewal of licenses and by the Ghana Police (of course under the same Minister) through a partial monitoring of their operations through a Directorate for Private Security Operations or Organization. At the Police HQ with Regional Officers for monitoring operations within the Region

PSOs security duties by the current law include (a) the services or provisions of protection of private residential areas, institutions, protection of private persons and assets. These are executed by physical security by visible presence or deterrent, through Guarding, Watching/monitoring, Access Control or denial, Patrolling and Investigation. Additional duties of PSOs, include Enforcement of Procedural Security or Site policies and use of Electronic Security (securing of Data Storage or information security, monitoring Surveillance and Notification systems), emergency responses, provision of private security consultancy/risk assessments or surveys/security training, manufacturing or importing and distributing of security monitoring devices, works of locksmiths, event management, bullion/Cash shipment (armored car businesses) or transporting services, guard dog services. These roles by PSOs have freed the Public Police to concentrate on core functions of maintenance of law and order in public spaces and afford opportunity for the Pubic Police to increase their effectiveness and efficiency.

Mr President, the operations of Private Security Organizations are characterized as proactive (the physically hold the ground or in defence posture and thus demo visible presence or deterrent etc), a very large workforce, some are better equipped than the Police (especially with good communication and surveillance gadgets for their operations) as against the operations of the Police which is reactive, have with low manpower strength and maybe poorly equipped/tooled. So, considering, the exponential growth of unemployment and other reasons, a school of thought recommends the need to create more jobs for the youth by the State considering some additional space that can be outsourced/utilized by Private Security Organizations due to the deficiency in the Police Services.

They claimed that a careful policy interventions may identify further non-core areas of the Police like control of traffic/Street as done by the MMTU of the Ghana Police, background verification of employment applicants (background checks, or Police verification) and some security functions of the Ghana Prisons like monitoring and guarding, outer periphery of prisons that could be outsourced to the PSOs. Some even went far to suggest that in order to reduce overcrowding in the Prisons, the State should outsource the holding in prisons of prisoners with low crime cases to PSOs for a fee from the State and usage of the personnel at non-security service required by the public for nominal fees payable to the State.

Mr President, the growth of the Market of the Private Security Industry is dynamic and viable due to the rapid growth of the population and in infrastructure (both public and private), including the massive growth of residential houses/Gated communities, Corporate Bodies/Commercial Houses, Institutions (Financial, Agencies, Embassies, Hospitals, Schools, the Hospitality industry, betting etc), human activities or event managements. These have made it necessary for a very huge demand for security cover by PSOs for both private spaces and some public spaces like Markets, beaches, parks etc, the distribution/installation and manning of electronic systems, info security, consultancy etc and thus making operation of PSOs to be a complex one, hence the current definition of PSOs by our laws Section 38 of the Police Services Act 1970 (Act 350)/ the LI1571 is deficient or outmoded.

So, there is the urgent need for an updated definition of Private Security Organizations or operations in a new law (Act of Parliament) since the operations of PSOs globally has changed drastically from the traditional security duties of watching or guarding monitoring, patrolling, investigation to new developments in the security industry. These new developments include the need for fast requirements for pre-screening reports by the Citizenry/Corporate Institutions, which has made it necessary for some countries to outsource pre-screening or background checks to PSOs. Also the works of locksmiths, the distribution and installation of security electronic systems have made the sector to be a complex one.

Mr President, the structure of the Private Security Industry is made of two areas namely Contract Security Service Providers and In-House personnel of Corporate bodies or Proprietary Security personnel, who are operating in a very huge Market. Hence, a careful study of the dynamic growth of the Private Security Industry may reveal that the Private Security Industry may be the number two if not number one employer in the Country. So, the State besides making it affordable to all the segments of the populace and corporate bodies, must be concerned with the welfare of the guards, especially minimum wages to make the sector as part of sustainable national development with the view to reducing the huge unemployment numbers which is growing at an exponential rate.

Hence, a new law is recommended to help ensure the welfare of the personnel and the sector is capable of attracting graduates etc. There is also the need for accountability or minimum standards in the Industry (contract rate range, recruitment, vetting, training, integrity, honesty, professionalism, complaints channel etc), use of force and limitations’ Powers of PSOs, offences and fees. As stated these require a new law or an Act of Parliament and not an amendment of L1571 of 1992.

Mr President, the dynamic growth of the Private Security Industry and the nature of the Market of the sector also demands a new legal framework and a solid Regulating or Controlling Authority under the Minister of Interior to see that the sector performs in line with the dogma of Probity, Transparency and Accountability (honesty, fairness, integrity, Professionalism, accessibility or within reach of the segments of the populace) as required by the 1992 Constitution. Other areas of the law should include on the licensing of PSOs/certification of the personnel.

Furthermore, the new law is needed to ensure minimum standards especially in line with the dogma of Probity, Transparency and Accountability, to prevent use of personnel with illegal or criminal behaviours, abuse of Human Rights or prevent PSOs from damaging social cohesion above all not becoming a service that only the wealthy can afford.

So, the new law should deal on the roles of PSOs/relationship between PSOs and State Security Agencies on Public and private security provision (a distinction between private and public operators operating in the security sector). Also on minimum standards for the accountability of operations of PSOs on matters on internal systems of governance (company structures, Staff recruitment, screening, training and code of conduct, financial and contractual matters, etc), Powers of PSOs or limitations on the use of force and firearms otherwise use of non-lethal weapons in accordance with international best practice, welfare of the personnel, , prohibition of Political affiliation (that is no direct relationships between Political parties and PSO as a Corporate entity).

Mr President according to a School of Thought, PSOs are well grounded in both in the matters of corporate law and in aspects of human rights through the adherence of the constitutional requirements and International conventions on use of force especially the Voluntary Principles of Human Rights and Security which are the concerns of their Shareholders, so it appears therefore that PSOs, only need an Act of Parliament with good regulations on minimum standards to be adopted in respect to establishment of PSO, recruitment, training, operations and may be a consideration of possession of simple firearms or non-lethal weapons and placement under the control by a Controlling Authority with a small Staff which should also be under a Private Security Organizations Council or Regulatory or Supervisory Board chaired by the Minister of Interior.

It is envisaged that a well-established and well-controlled PSOs have the potential to enhance the efforts of the National Security Agencies as well as absorbing the huge numbers of unemployment in the Country hence need to support their operations by good laws, spelling out among others, a proper Regulating Authority with directions and guidelines so that PSOs do not undermine National Security and public safety. Hence need to get the PSOs to promote honesty, integrity, professionalism the industry in line with probity, transparency and accountability as per the dogma of the 1992 Constitution.

PSOs are sometimes the only job opportunity available to former national security operatives especially from the Military, Police, and the State Agencies for Intelligence (NIB etc). So, if the PSOs sector is not strongly regulated with a new law, that is well managed and functioning on the basis of a clear legal framework, or if laws are not enforced, there is a risk that the high incidence of former police and military personnel working for PSOs may lead to undue influence, favours and obligations between current policemen and their former colleagues working for PSOs.

The current situation in which the Police is made as the oversight institution for PSOs and thus controls PSOs is prone to a possible conflict between PSOs and National (Public) Police especially when they are in competition for the same contract say Bank duties, or if they are working in the same area or during the same event. Hence, a conflict of interest may arise when the police is tasked with the oversight of the PSOs. So, an Act of Parliament or Legislation may help address possible conflicts and issues of conflict of interests in areas of operations, deal with arms (handling and distribution) which Article 85 of the 1992 Constitution negates.

Mr President to drive my point home for a new law, I wish cite the state of affairs in the private security industry in South Africa, UK and Nigeria. In South Africa It is regulated by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) under the provisions of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act. Private security companies in South Africa are required to be registered by law with the PSIRA.

The primary objective of the PSIRA of South Africa is to regulate the Private Security industry and exercise effective controls over the practices of security service providers for the interest of national security and in the interest of the private security industry as well. The authority also outlines minimum standards in terms of industry operations, training of security service providers, fair and transparent registration processes, protection and enforcement of related regulations. The authority is governed and controlled by a Council developed as per the provisions of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act. This Council comprises a chairperson, vice-chairperson and three additional councilors. The Council is appointed by the Minister of safety and security equivalent to our Minister of Interior, in consultation with the cabinet. The act also lays down regulations in terms of the appointment and operations of the Council.

Mr President, in the United Kingdom (U.K), a special security authority was established to oversee the PSOs industry. As part of major reforms to make the Private Security as player in Peace, Security and sustainable National Development, the Nigeria Government established, the PSOs by an Act of Parliament, licensed by the Minister, and provided the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps with an Operational Commander with staff under the Minister of Interior for recommending registration, the powers or areas of operations and the regulations of the operations of PSOs.

An Act of Parliament will spell out how oversight is exercise including submission of relevant documents, inspections, quarterly and yearly reports, fling of Complaints like the work of Police PIPS. Another aspect of control is the need for sanction regimes (varying from fines, temporary or permanent withdrawal of licenses to imprisonment or both against defaulters or offenders or when wrongdoing is detected. So, the lack of a coherent national regulatory framework hampers oversight.

Mr President to sum up, the Private security industry plays an important role in peace security and sustainable national development due to the Police inability to provide effective and efficient day-to-day security by effective holding the ground of many public and private facilities, hence armed PSOs should be used for the protection of Critical infrastructure by both the private and public. Pardon me to cite an example of an incident to drive this point home. In March 2019, a school of thought had the view that if the 125 MW Osagyefo barge, a gas turbine electric power station at Effasu was placed under the protection of a responsible Private Security Organization, armed or not armed Ghana would not have suffered the damages or the loss of the Barge for power generation as occurred or detected when it was under the protection of Ghana Police. The then District Commander for the area then DSP Zengey MarCathy in March 2019 arrested four Policemen for the losses on the barge.

The following recommendations are hereby submitted;

Legal Aspect and Governance-(Controlling Authority and Inspections)

Mr President, pardon me to reiterate that due to issues of the exponential growth of PSOs as a viable industry working in complex areas and with issues of likely conflicts or conflict of interest (since PSOs may be competing for jobs with the Police), PSOs should be regulated by a regulatory framework with a Controlling Authority under a Regulating Board, both independent from the Police. Also need for a new definition of PSOs, calls for a new law or an Act of Parliament, so that the regulations on PSOs are no more a subsidiary legislation of the Police Act, which made PSOs under the Police. The law should deal with matters on licenses as per current arrangement but a requirement that one of the Directors to be an ex-security operative who was with the rank of not below Major in the Ghana Army or its equivalent in other Security Agencies. There is also the need to ensure the certification of the personnel at a recommended fee of GHC40.00. It is worth stating that in Jan 2019, the Ministry of the Interior initiated a process to license all private security personnel working for the various private security companies in the country. This is yet to be followed to the letter.

The law should come out with why, who, when and where and how to use fire Arms if allowed. It should also deal with compliances or standards and fines against offences.

The Controlling Authority/Inspectorate –to report to the Board/Minister. He or she should have adequate Office and well-staffed with enough resources and the office as the Inspectorate of the Regulatory body for regulating, inspection, monitoring the PSOs to promote stability, promote and encourage trustworthiness of management of PSO, to ensure the industry is characterized by probity, transparency, accountability, professionalism, equity and accessibility To submit routine reports especially annual report. Also to determine and enforce minimum standard of code of services, promote high standard, protect the interests of Clients or users of services of PSOs

Controlling Authority to be responsible for the scrutiny of annual reports, put in place public complaints mechanisms, to encourage positive relations between the police and PSOs in order to ensure the operate within the limits of their activities, noting that the latter may assist the former in preventing crime.

Controlling Authority should also be responsible to scrutinize the Character of the Directors of PSOs and Character of employees to prevent employment of personnel with criminal or dubious background

The Controlling Authority or Controller will check and validate or otherwise the documents of PSOs for the issuance/renewal of licenses by the Minister of Interior. Hence the granting of licenses and renewal licenses is the responsibility of the Minister for Interior and this should be done on the advice by Board through the Control Authority. For accounting and better record, validity of licenses should be for a calendar year from 01 January to 31 December.

The Controlling Authority or Controller and inspectors may enter the premises of the PSOs for inspection of the place of business, records, accounts and other documents connected with the license. They may also conduct post inspection, to be required to publish reports and submits a copy of it to the security service provider and the original to the authority.

The Control Authority should work under a PSOs Supervisory Board. The Board among others to advice Minister of Interior on the issuance and renewal of licenses, vetting of Directors, use of uniform, accoutrements, welfare of personnel, Vetting of Directors, for vetting of employees but the identification and inspection of offices and sites should be by the Controlling Authority.

The Board through the Controlling Authority and Inspectors will be responsible for the protecting the interest of the Clients or the public, and will ensure compliance of the approved standards of conduct, the minimum training/training subjects and levels of supervision for adoption by PSOs. The Authority may do anything that it considers is calculated to facilitate, or is incidental or conducive to, the carrying out of any of its functions.

The Regulating Board with the Interior Minister as Chairman and with Membership of the Board as the Rep of the National Security Coordinator, the Ministry of Interior or Rep (Controlling Authority), Rep from Ministry of Defence , Rep from the Ghana Police, Rep from NIB, Rep from Association of Ghana Industries, Rep from CSOs, Rep from Ghana Chamber of Mines, Rep from APSOG , Rep from labour Department., Rep from Attorney General Department, Rep from Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Board or the Chairman should appoint a Controller or PSOs Operations Commander and staff members especially inspectors of the authority.

There is a school of thought with the view that foreigners should not be allowed as Directors and major shareholders or be in key management positions, because they do not owe allegiance to Ghana. I do not agree with them, as the name denotes, PSOs are service providers, mostly in the private spaces and limited public spaces like markets, parks open to all. PSOs do not work in sensitive areas of Notational Security nor have access to State secrets and service agreements or contracts are drafted in manner to prevent disclosure without duly approved by any of the parties or as required by the signed agreement. Another point which supports my assertion is that the 1992 Constitution only prevents the appointment of the IGP, CDS and Service Commanders as Dual Citizenship holders, hence does it not bar dual citizen holders from being members of the State Security Agencies like the Police and Military from a private soldier to the rank of Colonel or equivalent in other security agencies. The Supreme Court of Ghana ruling on section 16(2) of the Citizenship Act, 2000 (Act 591) as unconstitutional in Asare Vrs Attorney General (J1 6 of 2011) [2012] GHASC 31 (22 May 2012.

Permissible accoutrements for PSOs

Whistle, Handcuffs, Batons or truncheons, Flashlight, Pepper spray, Electronic gadgets (Handheld Radios, PCs, CCTV systems, Sensors, and electric Shock batons), Security Dogs among others should be the permissible accoutrements,

Powers and Limitation

As citizens, the personnel of PSOs are already accountable to the 1992 Constitution and Laws of Ghana, the criminal code for any of their actions. So, the PSOs staff are restricted to citizen arrest in public spaces but permissible to effect arrest on their Sites or premises and handed over to the Management for consideration of not handing over to the Police, if the crime is not Stealing or first degree felony, rape, murder, subversion against the State

Like a citizen, guards are allowed to Use Force per the use of force continuum or escalation of force (EOF) In the military, which is a standard that provides law enforcement officers and civilians with guidelines as to how much force may be used against a resisting subject in a given situation, particularly in the defence of life/ own property or under the Heat of the Moment, . Ghana in 2014 acted as a signatory to the Voluntary Principles of Human Rights and Security (VPHRS) and PSOs do abide by the VPHRS and this is normally stipulated in their service agreements with Clients.

Political Affiliation and Association

Efforts must be made to prevent the introduction of political parties’ dimensions into the industry. So, PSOs as corporate bodies should be prohibited by law from having connections with political parties other than Clientele relationship. In America individual Military personnel are allowed to attend a functions of political parties of their choice when in mufti and not in uniform and also not to hold positions of the party and not to make contributions in public, so in line with the human rights requirements as enshrined in section (1) (e) of Article 21 (of the 1992 Constitution, the staff or the personnel should be allowed to be members of their political party of their choices but not to wear uniform or badges etc to the events. They should join trade unions of their choice. A fine for infringement

Minimum and maximum Ages requirements for PSC employees

A minimum age of 18 years and maximum age of 75 years depending on physical ability and health and the absence of serious criminal offences.

Finances of Authority

The Authority should be financed from (a) money that is appropriated by Parliament, (b) registration fees, (c) levies or moneys from any legitimate source including defaulter’s fine which may accrue to the Authority in terms of this Act or any other law. (2) The Authority to comply with the Public Finance Management law hence must be audited by the Auditor-General. The Authority will Account for money received or paid on account of the Authority; and (b) cause the necessary accounting and other related records to be kept.)

Categorization of Clients and guards with contract rate and wages rate

It should be noted that PSOs are profit oriented and not NGOs, hence, the factor in cost on relievers to afford relief operations for guards to take rest or able to attend private obligations, cost on logistics, cost on mobile patrolling, cost on bussing personnel, withholding tax and other overhead cost, risks etc. Hence, the cost on the operations including the Compensation for guards, cost on relievers, overhead charges and profit margin are borne by the Client and hence the monthly take home pay is contingent on the payments by Clients.

The Categorization of Clients and guards with contract rate and wages rate must be done in a manner to ensure the sector is patronized by all segments of the populace, and not only for the rich clients and also to ensure the sector attracts all segments of the populace as staff/employees or manpower and not only for school drop outs or SHS certificate holders or personnel. Thus graduates can also enter into the Sector to at least acquire work experience (integrity, professionalism or discipline/work ethics) SSNIT numbers/contributions, pocket money etc), the contract rate should be made to be affordable and the guards or Staff wages should be made to attract better talent, enhance the quality of services provided by the sector and above all reduce attrition.

For the above reasons, the Private Security Industry’s Market should be categorized into three risk areas with recommended contract rates and guards compensations as (a). Low Risks Areas (low residential areas/shops) contract rate between GHC968.68 and GHC 1,000.71 including VAT, (b). Medium Risks Areas (medium Residential areas/Shops/ low risk Corporate Bodies) with a Contract rate between GHC1,200.00 and GHC1,500.00 including VAT and (c). High Risks Areas (High risk Corporate Bodies, Institutions and residential areas). Contract rate not below GHC2,000.00 including VAT.

It is recommended that six grades for the personnel should be instituted with a take home pay of the guards with grade 6 at Low Risk Residential/Client areas with at Contract rate between GHC968.68 and GHC 1,000.71 including VAT, receives a monthly take home pay of not less than GHC480.00 from a total compensation or gross salary not less than GHC576.47 (GHC576.47 include payment of the take home pay + PAYE + payment of TIER ONE SSNIT contributions + TIER 2 + payment of provident Fund to an Insurance Company herein I recommend MiLife Insurance Company under Westom Insurance Brokers Ltd) currently patronized by the member companies of the Associations of Private Security Companies in Ghana as their Fund Manager for a Welfare/Provident Fund at a monthly contribution with the lowest rate as GHC20.00 per guard. This should be made compulsory otherwise payment of penalty or revoking (withdrawal) of licenses of the Company and or cancelling the certification of the guard, since we should not joke with issues of welfare. The Categorization of guards and their minimum take home wages are tabulated below.

  • Low Risks Area - GHC968.68 to GHC 1,000.71 including VAT
    1 Grade 6 ( on recruitment ) Ghc480.00 Minimum based on Client Payments
    2 Grade 5, (two years to three service) GHC580.00 Depending or service or KPI
    3 Grade 4 ( four years to six service) GHC680.00 Depending or service or KPI

  • Medium Risk Area Contract rate GHC990.00 to GHC1,200.00 including VAT
    1 Grade 3 (seven to nine years) 780.00 Minimum based on Client Payments
    Grade 2, (ten to twelve years 880.00 Depending or service or KPI

    c). High Risk area Contract rate not below GHC2,000 including VAT

    1 Junior Grade 1 1,300.00 Minimum based on Client Payments
    Senior Grade 1 1,500.00 Depending or service or KPI
    Supervisor 1,600.00

    Major Mohammed Bogobiri (rtd)


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